BAE Systems Prospecting the T-X Campaign

Share Article

The T-X Trainer program could result in Big Budget

As most of us in the electronics/defense industry know, the Northrop T-38 Talon is an American super-sonic jet trainer that was introduced in March of 1961 and remains in service throughout the world. The U.S. is the biggest user of the trainer. However, the principal U.S. user is the USN Test Pilot School. NASA and the Turkish Air Force are also heavy users of the aircraft as well.

Powered by 2 General Electric J85-5A turbojets, the T-38 can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.3, has a range of 1140 miles, a 50,000 ft. service ceiling, and a rate of climb of 33,640 ft/min.

The T-38 specifications, along with an average aircraft age of 42 years, speak volumes about the reliability and the aircraft’s service record. Just as the F-14 Tomcat had served the U.S. military gallantly during the course of its lifespan (1970 – 2006), the T-38 has served many newbie military pilots well also.

However, innovation in our expanding world beckons. There are always scientists and engineers looking to push the envelope to make ‘man-made’ products work better and more efficiently than their predecessors. That’s where the T-X campaign comes into play. KEI is not talking about the "T-X" cyborg from the movie, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; the T-X is the new trainer that the Air Force has anointed to replace the T-38. The T-X program is not to kick-off for several years, not expecting to be in service until 2017. That said, BAE Systems is pursuing to become the prime contractor to secure the deal. BAE has already started talks with potential U.S. partners, and they would have to make enough changes to meet requirements for at 50% U.S. content. The most obvious partners are Boeing and Northrop Grumman. If BAE is successful, it would be the first time BAE serves as a prime contractor on a major aviation platform for the Pentagon and propel itself up a ‘ladder rung’ in the U.S. defense industry.

Although no funding has been put into the program yet, projected initial orders range from 350-500 aircraft, with the potential of another 1,000 aircraft. This program obviously appears to have the making of a HUGE budget assigned to it. If it comes into fruition, it would mean major $$ not only for the primary contractor(s) who bid and win the contract, but there would be also a trickle-down effect that would allow the smaller electronics distribution market to participate handsomely as well.

To learn more about KEI and how it can be a part of your supply chain for you aerospace needs, visit their website:, or call (800) 531-5329.

Knight Electronics International, Inc.
William Whitman Jr.
(800) 531-5329
bill (at) knight-intl (dot) net


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

William Whitman Jr
Visit website